From James Moushon via Joel Friedlander at The Book Designer:
So when will we start to see REAL ebooks appear on the market? You know the ebooks that take advantage of their digital environment. Ebooks that have been rendered to improve the reader’s ebook experience. As the number of ebook devices explodes into the book reader’s world, the readers are going to expect more. This statement is especially true with the younger generation whose world seems to center around instant access.
I just completed a study of twenty newly released ebooks just to see how far the art of ebook publishing has advanced in the last year. I choose ebooks from well-known authors, from self-publishing authors, some novels, some technical books. I wanted a variety for my study. I would like to share my observations and suggestions for their improvement.
My contention is that REAL ebooks should be a different product than their paper counterparts. They should be formatted differently; sections arranged differently and in some cases they should have different covers. In short, to be a REAL ebook, they should not be just a copy of the traditional book version.
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2. Author’s References—the ebook must include links to the author’s website, email address, blogs, online profiles and social networking connections (Facebook/Twitter). You need this to get your reader/audience involved.
3. Author’s Other Books—there should be links to the buy pages for other books created by the author. Why miss this marketing opportunity.
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One of the problems that traditional books have that REAL ebooks can solve is the maintenance of links in the books. As we know we live in an ever changing world. Web and email addresses change on a daily basis, it seems. So there I am with a link to some interesting information and the link is no good. A broken link, if you will
If the REAL ebook is managed properly, you can avoid or limit this problem. You can create an online directory of links for your ebook. Then you setup a link monitoring process and a link maintenance routine and maintain a valid list of links in the directory. I call this the Goodlinks concept. Just include a link to the online directory in your ebook and you won’t lose your audience.
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I reviewed the buy page on Amazon for each book in my study. I choose one ebook in my study and downloaded the sample, comparing it to the full length version. Here’s what I found.
The ebook sample was in the same section sequence as the paper version. I know there is a traditional way to setup a book. This sample was no exception. It started with the cover followed by the title page, the table of contents, the dedication, the copyright page and a list of the writer’s other works.
So you ask what’s wrong with this. If this sample was going to help sell my ebook, it probably failed. The sample was 80 device pages long but the viewer had to page through 24 pages before they could start reading the book to make a decision.
I believe if you are going to use the sample as a sales tool, there are some slight changes you can make. I would include the cover and the title page with an abbreviated TOC up front along with the author’s other books with buy links. Also I would include upfront the author’s website and contact information. Move the copyright page, dedications and credits to the end of the ebook.
Link to the rest at The Book Designer
James provides some provocative ideas, but PG wonders how all this scales.
If an author is writing like a madman/woman as Dean Wesley Smith proposes, is there going to be time to do all this extra stuff beyond getting good words on a screen?
If an author has 100 ebooks in print, what’s going to be involved in maintaining good links for each of them? Do you update Author’s Other Books in each of the prior ebooks whenever you publish a new one?
Recently, Mrs. PG decided the second sentence in one of her books was not right so, supportive husband that he is, PG changed it everywhere. It was not one of the labors of Hercules, but it took some time, including remembering to check back later for any random error messages, skipping proof orders, etc. PG would have been less supportive, or at least slower, if he had been required to change 10 books or 20.